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Move Over Fear Factor, Eating Insects is Oh So Epicurean

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Posted: 10:48AM March 27th, 2014 | Comments

Submitted by Danielle Russell

I’ll try anything once. From Rocky Mountain oysters to Peruvian cuy to Mexican chapulines chased with tequila, I’ve boldly gone where…well, where many mouths have gone before. Thanks to the modern conveniences of international travel and mainstream food explorers like Anthony Bourdain, our palates are expanding as our global boundaries shrink.

What’s the next food du jour to be served up in the world buffet?

Insects!

Alright, let’s all share one big, “eww!” and move one, because insects are actually a very cool food choice. In the U.S., the challenge of eating insects has been reserved for reality TV shows like Survivor and Fear Factor, when in reality, insects have served as a main protein source for many people around the world since the dawn of man. What’s more, as our global population pushes 7 billion people, insects can provide a more sustainable, affordable, and resilient form of protein to feed our growing population.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has been studying edible insects since 2003. The FAO website reports,

“Edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans. Insects have a high food conversion rate, e.g. crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. Besides, they emit less greenhouse gases and ammonia than conventional livestock. Insects can be grown on organic waste. Therefore, insects are a potential source for conventional production (mini-livestock) of protein, either for direct human consumption, or indirectly in recomposed foods (with extracted protein from insects); and as a protein source into feedstock mixtures.”

So, are you ready to take an adventurous leap into creepy, crawly cuisine? Well, here’s your chance! Join Sustain Dane and the Madison Children’s Museum this Saturday evening at the 2nd Annual Sustainability Sideshow [buy tickets here] where you can dine on three-course, gourmet meal more legs and wings than a chicken. Here's the menu - 

The Sustainability Sideshow Insect Banquet

Appetizer
Red Ant Egg Laab
A refreshing, light Southeast Asian salad

Main
Silkworm Curry
Spicy and flavorful mix of vegetables and silkworm pupae in a red curry
Cricket Fried Rice
Fried rice with Southeast Asian vegetables and roasted crickets
Mealworm Latkes
A traditional fried potato pancake with lightly simmered mealworms

Desserts
Chocolate Cricket Brownies
Rich and fudgy brownies made with cricket flour
Banana Mealworm Bread
Sunflower seed tasting mealworms baked within a soft, cricket flour, banana bread mix
Lemon-Ant Spirits
A serving of lemon vodka in the form of a jello shot, served with weaver ants

Drinks
Mealworm Hard Cider
Apple fed mealworms infused in an authentic hard cider
Chinese Armor-Tail Scorpion Infused Traditional Rice Wine
Chinese armor-tail scorpion within a traditional Southeast Asian rice grain wine
Chinese Armor-Tail Scorpion Hojicha
Roasted Japanese green tea infused with a Chinese armor-tail scorpion
 

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